Kahne captures first Bristol victory - NOTES by Lugnut - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

NASCAR NOTES: Kahne captures first Bristol victory

Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images Photo Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images
Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy" Glenn Campbell - "The Lugnut Cowboy"

The first short track test for NASCAR's new Gen6 car was a rousing success, and for the first time in 11 years, Kasey Kahne succeeded in crossing the Bristol finish line in first place.

Since 2002, Kahne has tried to figure out the high banks of Bristol Motorspeedway with little success. In Sunday's Food City 500, he finally got it right.

"We've been trying a long time," said Kahne about his win. "To pull it off, I felt like it was a big accomplishment."

Kahne had a fast car from the start but he had to run down reigning Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski over the final laps before he could pull away and secure the win.

"It took a while to do it," said Kahne about his pursuit of Keselowski. "He was sideways trying to hold us back. I got the lead and it was just momentum and try to drive away from there."

Keselowski eventually fell victim to a hard charging Kyle Busch in the final laps to finish third but knew that no one would catch Kahne.

"I don't think I had anything for Kasey," said Keselowski after the race."I don't know if anyone did. He was good through the middle, really everywhere. He was in a league of his own."

Busch dominated early but had to pay for a pit road violation and fell deep into the field. He eventually worked his way back to the front but couldn't compete with Kahne.

"I wish I could have kept up with the 5, but he took off, left us all," said Busch on his chances of winning.

Kahne's win is a culmination of the hard work that the team put in during the winter, and he is the first to sing their praises.

"There was a lot that went on during the off-season to get a little bit better," said Kahne on his team's improvement. "I felt like each one of us needed to get a touch better. So far it's all paying off. The guys are doing an awesome job."

With a second place finish last week in Vegas and a win this week in Bristol, Kahne has shown that his team's improvement has made him a championship contender. If they continue to grow as a unit, this could be a banner year.

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